Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Schools Forum - Monday, 20th September, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Contact: Reena Kohli 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 232 KB

To agree as a correct record the minutes  of the meeting held on 12 July 2021.


The minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2021 were submitted for consideration as a correct record.




To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2021 as a correct record.



Schools Funding Settlement pdf icon PDF 437 KB

The report of the Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools is enclosed.

Additional documents:


The Forum considered a report of the Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools which provided a summary of the recently announced provisional school funding settlement for Manchester’s maintained schools for the 2022/23 financial year.  The report highlighted that the Settlement includes funding for pupil growth, inflation, and high needs funding. 


The Forum had been invited to consider the funding settlement headlines and the potential impact on Manchester. In doing so, members were asked to note that the final settlement was notional meaning that estimates of grant increases were based on the interpretation of recent announcements.  The exact settlement figures were expected in December of this year and would be calculated using October 2021 census data. Information on the Early Years settlement would also be included in that Settlement.


The report set out notional allocations and key headlines for each respective funding blocks and summarised that in light of changes to pupil numbers and their characteristics, Manchester should receive an additional £18.052m grant next year.  This was  mainly made up by a 2% uplift and an £8m increase in the high needs block.  With regard to the increase in High needs funding, the  Directorate  Finance lead – Children and schools informed the Forum its was anticipated that the High Needs block deficit could be balanced in conjunction with the agreed actions set out in the Recovery Plan.


With regard to the key headline that schools should  receive an uplift of approximately 2% of their budget share the Forum agreed that this did not reflect unfunded cost pressures such as inflationary factors and rising energy costs and so represented a reduction in real-terms.




1.    To note the School Funding Settlement headlines.

2.    To note the potential impact on Manchester schools based on the interpretation  of recent announcements.



National Funding Formulae (NFF) Consultation pdf icon PDF 312 KB

The report of the Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools is enclosed.

Additional documents:


The Forum considered a report of the Directorate Finance Lead – Children Services and Education which  provided an outline of the recently published Department for Education consultation on the ongoing development and implementation of the single system to direct funds to schools (the National Funding Formula (NFF)). The Forum was invited to consider the further workings on the anticipated financial impact of the NFF on Manchester’s schools as well as the Council’s draft response to the consultation, which had been included for information.


Key points highlighted for consideration were:


·         A modelling exercise of the consultation proposal to set out the potential financial implications of a move to the NFF, whether it be gradual or immediate, with a preferred model put forward by the Authority to mitigate the impact on Manchester schools.

·         The proposal to replace different local criteria to allocate growth funding with a more formulaic approach, in light of budgets being set under a lagged funding system and the impact of growth and falling rolls.

·         Proposed changes to the funding route to Local Authorities in respect of duties for Academies as well as  maintained schools. The DfE plan to consider whether local authority funding should become part of MHCLG’s Local Government Finance Settlement (LGFS) rather than a reduced Central Schools Services Block.

·         The role of local Decision Making -  the consultation sought to establish whether local authorities should still have a role in the way funding is allocated through their own local formulae.

·         The proposal to move maintained school funding away from financial year basis and align it to the academic year

·         A proposal to implement a direct and more consistent formula for SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities) funding.


The Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools introduced the report  and explained that the consultation outlined a plan that would involve requiring Local Authority to bring each of its local formula factors "at least 10% closer to the NFF factor value", compared with 2022/23. After an initial 10% movement closer to the NFF in 2023/24, and subject to the impact of this movement, the DfE aimed to move at least 15% to the NFF in 2024/25 and at least 20% in 2025/26. Schools however would continue to be protected from cash-term losses in their per-pupil funding by the Minimum Funding Guarantees (MFGs) within local formulae.


The Forum noted the National Audit Office finding on the financial sustainability of schools which had indicated that the formula would redistribute funding from the most disadvantaged pupils, towards more affluent areas and the anticipated impact on the attainment gap.  Members also commented that the information provided by the DfE lacked a sufficient amount of detail to  accurately model the impact of the proposals at individual school level.  The Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools acknowledged that whilst detailed information was not yet available from the DfE to allow robust analysis, the consultation provided an indication of what could be done to prepare for its implementation.


The Forum noted the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Oral Update - Outcome of the implementation of the Excessive balance clawback mechanism


The Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools told the Forum that the Excessive Clawback Mechanism’s Appeals Panel had recently met.  None of the appeals had been upheld and consequently £304,000 had been allocated to address the High Needs Block deficit.




To note the oral update.